Love Rejoices with the Truth
Are you quick to love? Do you rejoice with the truth? It does not take long after reading 1-2-3 John to see that the overwhelming theme is Love. In these books, the highest exhortation is the love of the brethren. Yes, we are to love everyone but the Bible does teach us to especially love the brethren. Galatians 6:10.
So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of God.
Doing good is an act of love. In this small 15 verse letter, we will learn what true love looks like compared to that which is evil. Evil, what a strong word! Because the Bible calls evil, evil so should we. Not showing hospitality to those who preach and teach the truth of the Bible is considered to be an evil act on the part of one who claims to be a Christian. The Word goes so far as to say that the one who practices this evil has not seen God. 3 John 1:11.
What Walking In True Love Looks Like: Biblically
3 John 1-6 and 12 give a description of what walking in Biblical Truth looks like. John mentions two men that exemplify this truth. The first is Gaius and the second is Demetrius. These men are examples of true salvation.
Let’s look at how John describes Gaius and what walking in truth looks like, biblically.
- Having a prosperous soul. He is described as being spiritually healthy walking with a clear conscience before the Lord. I would say that he is a man who lived to please God not man nor himself.
- Walks in the truth of God’s Word/Obedient. Gaius practiced what he preached. He was a great example of John 2:4 an indicator of one who studied to show himself approved unto God. A workman who need not be ashamed. 2 Timothy 2:15. He was a man who was obedient to the teachings of the word of God.
- Acting faithfully in what he accomplishes for the brethren/ believers. The bible tells us that genuine faith produces good works. James 2:14-17. Gaius not only acted faithfully with the believers that he knew but he reached out his hand of hospitality to those he did not know.
What a picture of a man of God. His reputation went before him. He was well-known and loved by the churches. Anyone who practices what the BiBle teaches is one who loves God and has a true love for the church. What a great example to follow.
What Walking in Evil Looks Like: Biblically
Now we move to verses 9-11 and see what walking in evil looks like. John does not hesitate to give us this man’s name, Diotrephes. There is an indication here that John may have sent a letter to Diotrephes to correct his behavior and as we will learn the correction was not received. God gave authority to John and the other Apostles to teach, preach, and rebuke those who did not follow the teachings of the Word of God. Diotrephes refused Johns authority.
Let’s look at how John describes Diotrephes and what walking in evil looks like, biblically.
- Loves to be first. John describes him as selfish, self-seeking, self-centered. According to verse 10, he was a leader in the church. We can learn three things wrong with his leadership. (1) His actions contradict Jesus’s teaching on servant-leadership Matthew 20:20-28. (2)He was lording over the sheep not serving them. 1 Peter 5:3. (3) He was exercising church discipline incorrectly. Matthew 18:15-18. Diotrephes put those out of the church who wanted to show kindness and hospitality.
- Does not accept the authority of John as a church leader. He unjustly accuses with wicked words. His words indicate evil intent not kindness toward God’s leaders.
- Does not show hospitality to itinerant preachers. He does not receive the brethren as described in verse 7. These men were going from place to place teaching and preaching the truth for the sake of the Name, Jesus Christ. Diotrephes would not accept them. And again would put out of the church those who desired to help them.
Diotrephes was not acting faithfully. He was actually acting the opposite of what the scriptures teach. How does the Bible describe his actions? Evil!
Do Not Imitate Evil: Imitate What is Good
In verse 11 John says,
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God, the one who does evil has not seen God.
What is the good we are to practice according to 3 John? Our exhortation is to show love to those who are teaching the truth of the word through hospitality.
This message from John is so timely. It is so vitally important for the believer to be in the word of God renewing their mind and learning what the will of God is. That is what we have been doing at Conforming To The Truth. We read 17 New Testament books in 17 Weeks. Although the online group for this study has closed, I would like to continue to offer my FREE 17 Week Reading Plan Workbook to you! All you have to do is subscribe!!!
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